Attorney General Jeff Sessions contacted U.S. Attorneys in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas Friday and directed them to take a zero tolerance approach against individuals who enter the United States illegally.
“The situation at our Southwest Border is unacceptable. Congress has failed to pass effective legislation that serves the national interest—that closes dangerous loopholes and fully funds a wall along our southern border. As a result, a crisis has erupted at our Southwest Border that necessitates an escalated effort to prosecute those who choose to illegally cross our border,”Sessions released in a statement. “To those who wish to challenge the Trump Administration’s commitment to public safety, national security, and the rule of law, I warn you: illegally entering this country will not be rewarded, but will instead be met with the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice. To the Department’s prosecutors, I urge you: promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens. You play a critical part in fulfilling these goals, and I thank you for your continued efforts in seeing to it that our laws—and as a result, our nation—are respected.”
The announcement and directive comes just two days after President Trump ordered the deployment of the National Guard to the southern border with Mexico. According to the White House, 2000-4000 troops will be sent until the border wall is completed. Based on recommendations from local governors and Border Patrol agents, additional guards could be deployed if extra resources are necessary.
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice also announced new grading measures and quota requirements for immigration judges in order to clear the extensive backlog of pending cases.